Over the past few years I have traveled far down the path of Standards Based Grading. A LOT of people have written about it (here, here, and here) online, and I have taken bits and pieces to create something I am comfortable with, for now.
Starting with Standards
Our school district is “converting” to the Common Core this year while maintaining the need to include the current Washington Performance Expectations since students will still be tested on these in the Spring. The Math 8 curriculum is Common Core plus some work with angles and probability. The Algebra 8 curriculum is Common Core (which overlaps/expands on quite a few of the eighth grade CC standards) along with Pythagorean Theorem. (These students were exposed to most of the non-algebraic Washington standards for eighth grade last year, but I am sure some review will be in order.)
I have created a tracking chart for each student based on samples I have seen from others. (See images below – sorry not the whole form.) All scores on any type of assessment are labeled by the Standard, and students update scores on a weekly basis. After recording the date and score, they shade in the “bar” to show their level – using pencil, because the level may change in the next assessment!
Some of the Standards I have broken down into smaller chucks while others are just “as is.” The lists are fairly long, but we submit grades quarterly, so in each quarter there are roughly 15-20 Standards. There is a separate page for the Mathematical Practices Standards, but those are more difficult to assess.
I record scores “by standard” and only include the most recent score when updating grades. This is not a “quick and easy” task in an electronic gradebook. I “override” scores on a regular basis rather than entering in a whole new set of scores. On a Unit Assessment there will be about 7-10 scores, one for each Standard on the assessment. As I am moving from part time to full time this year, I hope I won’t get bogged down too much 😦 After the Unit Assessment (or any other time) students may re-assess on individual learning targets, not the entire Unit.
Only including the most recent score allows students time, when necessary, to fully understand the concepts, but also requires that students retain their understanding. We have been implementing quarterly Benchmark Assessments in our district, but I have yet to include those scores in the gradebook, as they are just a “snapshot” of the skills.
In the next post, I address my rubrics for assigning levels and overall grades.